If you are interested in moving to the Downland villages near Chichester, we can assure you that they are truly wonderful places for you to live. At Hancock and Partners, we are an established estate agent with many years’ experience in the West Sussex property market – so we feel we know the South Downs villages better than most. Therefore, to help introduce you to these wonderful Downland villages, we have put together this area guide to the South Downs villages of Stoughton, Walderton, and Funtington.
The charming rural village of Stoughton is surrounded by Walderton Down and Stoughton Down to the south, which both belong to the Kingley Vale Nature Reserve, a unique landscape rich in nature and wildlife. As you can expect from a village in this area, you have endless countryside walks to choose from, where you can discover gorgeous woodlands and enjoy spectacular views as you explore the open downs.
- The Monarch’s Way
There are so many places to explore if you live in Stoughton, and there is even a long climb from the village itself to enjoy, forming part of the Monarch’s Way, which will reward you with the most spectacular views when you make it to the top!
At 615 miles, this is one of the longest long-distance footpaths in the country, which is fascinating to do if you are a history lover. It is actually the path taken by Prince Charles II as he fled to France during the English Civil War. After embarking on this dangerous journey, he returned to England nine years later, and was crowned Charles II on 23 April 1661.
- Woodland to explore
If you are looking for two of the nicest patches of woodland in West Sussex, you could also fall in love with Wildhams Wood and Inholmes Wood. These have both been favourite beauty spots with the locals for generations, as they offer one of the best examples of the wonderful countryside to be enjoyed in the South East.
You also have the opportunity to admire the beautiful architecture of Stoughton Church, which is standing on a hillside overlooking the village. This church is of late Saxon or early Norman origin – thought to have been built around 1050.
This neighbouring village of Walderton is also situated in the middle of the South Downs National Park and just a short walk to the famous Kingley Vale. Just like Stoughton, there are some wonderful places in the surrounding countryside, as well as various walking and biking trails you can follow to take in as much of the area as possible.
Stansted Park, with its impressive stately home dating back to the 11th century is close by and if all that fresh air puts you in need of refreshment, then the Barley Mow pub is an essential watering hole in Walderton.
So, if you are looking to live in the midst of the immense beauty of the South Downs, Walderton would be the perfect place for you.
- Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve
Situated to the north-west of Chichester, this nature reserve is easily accessible from both Walderton and Stoughton. Named as one of the first National Nature Reserves in the country it is home to a wood of ancient yew trees and includes trees which are among the oldest living things in Britain.
This entire area of countryside has such a rich history, once explored by the Romans, as well as the Vikings, even dating back to the Bronze Age – so this area is full of traces of the people who have lived, visited and worked here. For example, in this nature reserve, you can explore The Devil’s Humps, which are one of the best examples of Bronze Age burial mounds. For a history lover, living so close to this piece of the past would be absolutely fascinating – notably, because they are amongst the most visited burial sites in the country.
This larger picturesque village is situated closer to the city of Chichester, but still epitomises the beauty of any of the South Downs villages. Just like the other Downland villages, Funtington is also surrounded by wonderful West Sussex countryside, as it is close by to the Kingly Vale National Nature Reserve with its large areas of grassland.
- Famous for pigs
One of the most well-known aspects of this village is the pigs, so when driving through the parish you are bound to notice the distinctive metal pig sties that punctuate the land to the south and west of the area. One of the most famous pig farms in this area is Broadley Copse Farm, which is a 2,500-acre arable and pig farm that has been rearing outdoor breeding sows for over 50 years.
- Rich history
One of the best things about living in West Sussex in general, is the wealth of history you can immerse yourself in, and Funtington is no different. One example is Devil’s Ditch, which is situated on a south-facing slope near West Stoke and where remains from part of a tribal settlement after the Roman invasion of Britain were found, which are thought to date to the Late Iron Age. The Ditch actually runs all the way to the famous village of Boxgrove to the east of Chichester.
Would you like to live in one of the Downland villages?
As we have explored, these villages are lovely examples of how the South Downs villages in the heart of the West Sussex countryside are a great place to live. Particularly if you are moving from a large city, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easily you will adapt to country life, and appreciate the outside more with the South Downs National Park right on your doorstep.
If you would like to get in touch with the friendly Hancock and Partners team, please feel free to call us on 01243 531111, and we will be ready to help you explore this area further.